St. Mary's Cathedral, Australia
Australia’s first Roman
Catholic Church, St. Mary’s Cathedral is a fine example of
English-style Gothic church. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary,
Mother of God, under the title Immaculate Mother of God,
Help of Christians, St. Mary’s Cathedral is situated in the
of Sydney City and is a peaceful and beautiful
sanctuary amidst the busy, bustling metropolis.
The seat of the Archbishop of
Sydney, St. Mary’s Cathedral is the centre of Catholics in
Sydney. Made of local yellow sandstone, the architectural
style of this structure is
reminiscent of the famous
churches in medieval Europe.
The St. Mary’s Cathedral in
1788 – With the arrival of
the First Fleet came, came soldiers and convicts who
were some of them Catholic.
May 3, 1820 – Fr. John
Therry and Fr. Phillip Conolly are the first Catholic
Chaplains of the colony.
1821 – Under the auspices
of Governor Lachlan Macquarie, the first stone of the
first St. Mary’s Chapel is laid.
September 13, 1835 – John
Bede Polding, OSB becomes Australia’s 1st bishop. St.
Mary’s Chapel becomes a Cathedral.
1842 – The first
Archbishop of Sydney is Polding.
1851 – The cathedral is
expanded under the design of English architect, A.W.N.
June 29, 1865 – St. Mary’s
Cathedral is ruined by a fire.
1868 – Construction for
the new St. Mary’s begins with the gothic revival design
of William Wilkinson Wardell.
1877 – The Archbishop of
Sydney is Roger Bede Vaughan, OSB.
1882 – Although still
incomplete, the Cathedral’s northern section is
1885 – The third
Archbishop of Sydney is Patrick Francis Moran. He will
then become the first Cardinal of Australia.
1905 – Debt-free, the
Cathedral is solemnly blessed.
1911 – Cardinal Moran is
succeeded by Archbishop Michael Kelly.
September 2, 1928 – The
Cathedral is almost completed and is opened to the
1930 – St. Mary’s
Cathedral is titled a Minor Basilica by Pope Pius XI.
1946 – The first native
Australian born Archbishop of Sydney, Norman Thomas
Gilroy succeeds Kelly.
1970 – The Prince of the
Catholic Church, Pope John VI, visits Sydney and
celebrates mass at the Cathedral.
1971 – Gilroy is succeeded
by Archbishop James Freeman.
1986 and 1995 – Visits to
St. Mary’s Cathedral by Pope John Paul II.
1998-2000 – Wardell’s
spires are built.
2001 – The Archbishop of
Sydney is Archbishop (later Cardinal) George Pell.
One of Australia’s historical
structures, St. Mary’s Cathedral is the spiritual home of
Catholics in Sydney outside the Vatican.